U. S. presidents have often cited the widening gap between the rich and the poor as being the number one obstacle to world peace. So it is interesting to find that this gap is the greatest within the United States of America. Globalization has only widened this gap further in the U. S. and in countries where the U. S. has spread its capitalism through the exporting of U. S. businesses. Why then do U. S. presidents preach about the negative correlations between widening class gaps and civil disturbances when they themselves propagate and enable those who widen this gap further through U.
S. policies? The United States exports capitalism in its raw form while practicing a mixed economy at home. Why? Could it be because the U. S. citizen will not stand for the low pay and horrible living conditions associated with raw capitalism, so companies who want the extreme profit margins, found in raw capitalism through exploitation of workers and environments that is not allowed to take place within our own borders, have to move to countries were U. S. policies and world organizations allow for this.
Capitalism does not and can not promote freedom or democracy. How can a system ruled by corporations that are oligarchies in practice promote rule by the people for the people or individual freedom? Capitalism promotes the rise of a rich minority that rules over the majority, because it is the private ownership of wealth with no government intervention. There is no control over how money is made or how much you can have so therefore it produces a rich minority.
The best example of this is the game called monopoly where each player starts out with the same amount of money and by the end of the game, through a player’s ability to get rich; one player ends up with all of the wealth or a monopoly. When only a few take all the wealth and the rest are left destitute or barely surviving off the meager hand outs given to them by the minority then you have a system that supports the winner over the loser. A system that supports greed in all its fantastic forms because of the huge rewards reaped once one gets rich.
America’s leaders preach democracy and capitalism as the way to success, and this may be true but success for whom? In the documentary, Life and Debt, the U. S. exported its great capitalist way of life to that poor backwards country to save it from itself. All we succeeded in was to create sweat shops and cause a division of wealth that is so great that there are riots in the streets. We exploited Jamaica for what we needed which was another market to sell our goods and cheap labor. We have effectively destroyed that country and turned it into an economic slave to our will.
In Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place she says that in Antigua (a place similar to Jamaica in what has happened), “eventually the masters left, in a kind of way; eventually, the slaves were freed, in a kind of way. ”(pg. 80) The “masters left in a kind of way” is exactly right because they may have left physically but they never left economically because we control their economy. The “slaves were freed in a kind of way” is to say that just because they are not called slaves or have a master as in ownership they are still slaves just with an elevated status so as to not be a slave but not be free either.
Ten dollars a week is not going to sustain anyone for long and therefore it is slavery with pay. Antiguans and Jamaicans alike don’t have a choice of whether or not they want to work for that amount because that is the only job they have available to them because the local businesses were pushed out by the big American corporations. Economic slavery is the real result of free trade and capitalism that is given to the people of the third world. Once an American learns of these affects the question may arise of why do we do this to these countries?
Is it because we did not realize that this would happen and if so why have we allowed it to continue? If you read John Perkins’ The Secret History of the American Empire: The Truth About Economic Hit Men, Jackals, And How To Change The World then you will find that the United States does this on purpose because it is expanding an invisible empire through economic controls. It is control of a land without boundary lines drawn. A new kind of Rome where countries are dominated by economic might backed by military might. Perkins, who worked for a corporation that U. S. ould hire out to do its dirty work, says that they “would identify a developing country that possessed resources our corporations coveted (such as oil), arranged a huge loan for that country, and then direct most of the money to our own engineering and construction companies—and a few collaborators in the developing country. ”(pg. 2, 3) Then he says that, “EHMs (economic hit men) returned later to the indebted country and demanded our pound of flesh: cheap oil, votes on critical United Nations issues, or troops to support ours somewhere in the world, like Iraq. (pg. 3) These loans come from the World Bank or International Monetary Fund at a heavy cost to the nation that is receiving it. The money is then used on projects like airports, power plants, and industrial parks that most poor people cannot afford to use anyway. So if the money is not used to benefit the poor then who? The great capitalists of America benefit because they can put their factories in these industrial parks that use the power plants and the airports.
These business men then have a country of people who they can hire for pennies a day making a product that they will sell to the American citizen for an enormous profit. Globalization and democracy were nice ideas until they were corrupted by greed and the powerful men who espouse it, and practice it in their capitalist ways. Capitalism does not promote freedoms and equality for all, but exactly the opposite. Inequality and economic slavery are the fruits of capitalism. The United States has spread its inequality across the globe allowing for the largest portion of the worlds wealth to ever be held by so few people.
We have used capitalism and our armies to dominate the world. Could globalization and free trade ever promote greater freedoms that we have yet seen in the world? Only a world working together for the benefit of all and not the few could deliver the freedoms dreamed of by all. It will not come from armies nor will it come from capitalism. Capitalism has proven that it solely supports the few rich in the world who control the majority through economic and military might.
The only way to ever right the wrongs that we have committed would be to cause our capitalist system to crumble under the weight of its greed, because only then amongst the turmoil can real change take place. The world needs a system that promotes the welfare of all not just the few and the only way to do that is to write a constitution that safeguards the people right to all those things essential to life. A system that limits the slice of the pie one can have is needed, because if this is not done then the more pie one person has the less there is for others and the chance of poverty becomes definite.